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West Virginia brings 0-4 league record to Oklahoma

Jan 11, 2023; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Kedrian Johnson (0) shoots a three pointer during the second half against the Baylor Bears at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his team’s 0-4 start to conference play, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins remains confident in his team.

“I think this team is going to be a good team,” Huggins said. “I think it’s going to be an NCAA Tournament team.”

Point guard Kedrian Johnson is a big piece of why Huggins remains confident going into Saturday’s matchup with Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.

Like West Virginia, Johnson has gotten off to a rough start in Big 12 play. After going 1-of-18 from the floor in the Mountaineers’ first two conference games, Johnson missed the loss to Kansas with a concussion, then returned to go 1-of-7 from the floor in Wednesday’s loss to Baylor, though he had six assists with just one turnover.

“He’s starting to be healthy and be Kedy again,” Huggins said.

Saturday’s game is West Virginia’s first since the firing of associate head coach Larry Harrison. Harrison had been on Huggins’ staff since Huggins arrived at West Virginia in 2007 and had coached under Huggins for eight seasons at Cincinnati.

On his weekly radio show Thursday, Huggins said he “wasn’t as involved as it’s being portrayed I was” in the decision to dismiss Harrison.

The Mountaineers (10-6, 0-4 Big 12) are looking to avoid just their second 0-5 start since joining the league.

To do that, West Virginia would have to snap a seven-game regular-season losing streak to Oklahoma, its longest current streak in the conference.

The Sooners (10-6, 1-3) have dropped three conference games by a combined eight points, including Tuesday’s 79-75 loss at No. 2 Kansas.

One of the bright spots recently for the Sooners is senior Jalen Hill, who is averaging 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds with 1.3 blocks and just two total turnovers since Big 12 play began.

“His confidence is going through the roof,” Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said of Hill. “What it does is it gives you another guy that the rest of the team, the younger guys, can look to in close games.”

For the Sooners, Saturday’s game is the first of three straight against teams that aren’t ranked — one of just two consecutive-game stretches the Sooners have remaining against unranked opponents.

–Field Level Media